Wayne Forest Miller (September 19, 1918 – May 22, 2013) was an American photographer known for his series of photographs The Way of Life of the Northern Negro
. Active as a photographer from 1942 until 1975, he was a contributor to Magnum Photos beginning in 1958. Miller was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of a doctor and a nurse, who gave him a camera as a high school graduation present. He went on to study banking at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, while also working on the side as a photographer. From 1941 to 1942 he studied at the Art Centre School of Los Angeles. He then served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy where he was assigned to Edward Steichen
's World War II Naval Aviation Photographic Unit. He was among the first Western photographers to document the destruction at Hiroshima.
After the war he resettled in Chicago. He won two consecutive Guggenheim Fellowships
in 1946-1948, with which he worked on The Way of Life of the Northern Negro
. These images were published in his book Chicago's South Side 1946-1948
,. This project documented the wartime migration of African Americans northward, specifically looking at the black community on the south side of Chicago, covering all the emotions in daily life. The people depicted are mostly ordinary people, but some celebrities appear, such as Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Paul Robeson.
Wayne Miller taught at the Institute of Design in Chicago
before commissioning a Modernist house for their growing family from architect Mario Corbett in Orinda, California in 1953. He was freelancing for Life
and with his wife Joan also worked with Edward Steichen as an associate curator for The Family of Man
exhibition and accompanying book which opened at New York City's Museum of Modern Art
in 1955. Steichen selected eight of Miller's photographs, including two of the birth of the photographer's son, for the show which traveled the world and was seen by more than 9 million visitors.
Miller died on May 22, 2013, at his home in Orinda, California, age 94, survived by his wife of 70 years, the former Joan Baker (January 21, 1921 – March 7, 2014), and children Jeanette Miller, David Miller, Dana Blencowe, and Peter Miller. The Wayne Miller Archive is held at the Center for Creative Photography
(University of Arizona).
Born in Chicago, Wayne F. Miller studied banking at the University of Illinois, Urbana, while working part-time as a photographer. He went on to study photography at the Art Center School of Los Angeles from 1941 to 1942.
Miller served in the United States Navy, where he was assigned to Edward Steichen’s Naval Aviation Unit. After the war he settled in Chicago and worked as a freelancer. In 1946-48, he won two consecutive Guggenheim Fellowships and photographed African-Americans in the northern states.
Wayne Miller taught photography at the Institute of Design in Chicago, then in 1949 moved to Orinda, California, and worked for LIFE until 1953. For the next two years he was Edward Steichen’s assistant on the Museum of Modern Art’s historic exhibit, The Family of Man
. A long-time member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers, he was named its chairman in the summer of 1954. He became a member of Magnum Photos in 1958, and served as its president from 1962 to 1966. His ambition throughout this period was, in his words, to “photograph mankind and explain man to man”
Having been active in environmental causes since the 1960s, Miller then went to work with the National Park Service. He joined the Corporation of Public Broadcasting as executive director of the Public Broadcasting Environmental Center in 1970. After he retired from professional photography in 1975, he devoted himself to protection of California’s forests. Along the way, Miller co-authored A Baby's First Year
with Dr Benjamin Spock, and wrote his own book, The World is Young
Source: Magnum Photos